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President Zardari signs Election (Amendment) Bill 2024, empowering ECP to appoint retired judges for Election Tribunals

ISLAMABAD: On Monday, President Asif Ali Zardari approved the Election (Amendment) Bill 2024, empowering the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to appoint retired high court judges to election tribunals.

This amendment to the Elections Act, 2017, allows the ECP to bypass consultation with respective chief justices when appointing retired judges as election tribunals.

The changes were made to Section 140 of the Elections Act, 2017 through the Election Amendment Bill. However, consultation with the chief justice of the concerned high court remains necessary when appointing a serving judge to an election tribunal, according to a press release from the President House.

Following the president’s approval under Article 75 of the Constitution, the bill has now become an act.

The National Assembly passed the Election (Amendment) Bill 2024 on June 28, followed by the Senate on July 4, despite strong opposition from legislators.

This legislative change comes amid an ongoing dispute between the ECP and the Lahore High Court (LHC) over the appointment of judges to election tribunals for the February 8 polls. On May 29, the LHC ruled that, according to Article 219(c) and Article 222(b) of the Constitution, the LHC chief justice has primacy in appointing election tribunals under Section 140 of the Elections Act, 2017.

The Supreme Court later suspended the LHC judgment and its notification regarding the appointment of eight election tribunals in Punjab, pending the completion of consultations between the two sides.

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I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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